Wear shoes when wading in Lake Maquarie
By Dr Mike Heasman & Gavin Ayre.
(excerpted from Ocean Spirit Magazine)

It is always sensible to wear shoes when wading in the water due to the risk of lacerations from broken glass or other sharp objects.

Trailer yachties visiting Lake Macquarie should be aware that there is currently a relative abundance of medium to large razor clams in the shallows.

Razor clams, also called “razor fish”, Pinna bicolor are large,
fan-shaped bivalves that live buried in the sediment on the sea floor.

They are well known in South Australia & Western Australia. In Lake Macquarie they are virtually unknown among the boating public, and that is potentially a problem. I have been sailing on Lake Macquarie for over 20 years and have never heard of them being found here previously.

Razor clams bury themselves in sediment, leaving the top few centimetres exposed.

The shell on the left is 400mm in length.

The razor clam buries itself vertically in the sediment with a few centimetres of the shell protruding. This leaves a very thin & sharp blade of shell exposed for the unwary to stand on. So far I have only observed them buried in weed beds, and this makes them even more difficult to see.

I was so concerned at their apparently recent arrival that I contacted NSW Fisheries. Dr Mike Heasman of the Port Stephens Fisheries Centre at Taylor’s Beach assured me that the razor clams are very much an endemic species, definitely not a recent unwelcome arrival. In fact this species, P.bicolor is found in usually low abundance from NSW, Qld and through to the NT.

The recent appearance of large numbers of adult razor clams is most likely the result of an exceptional rate of survival of razor clam larvae three to four years ago. Thus it seems that the population of razor clams is likely to fall again, unless favourable conditions return.

So the next time you are sailing here on Lake Macquarie don’t be alarmed – just wear shoes when you are wading
in the water.

The author would like to thank Dr Mike Heasman of NSW Fisheries for his assistance. Photo courtesy Gavin Ayre/